Making LA: Education

Photo via Flickr/CC/Clotee Allochuku
Photo via Flickr/CC/Clotee Allochuku

It’s no secret that Los Angeles has a massive school system. There are more than 900 schools in the L.A. Unified School District, with more than 600,000 students. Los Angeles also has more charter schools than any district in the country. Some say that’s a threat to the public school system, while others argue that charters offer a crucial alternative.

Press Play’s Madeleine Brand talked with Joshua Pechthalt, President of California Federation of Teachers and Steve Barr, Founder of Future Is Now Schools about the state of education in Los Angeles.

 Pechthalt is wary of charter schools, saying that they take necessary resources (think: funding) away from public schools. “I think what it does, is it syphons money away from the district,” he says. “I think over time kids who are in the charter schools are getting more resources”

However, Barr has seen first-hand the impact charters can make, ensuring quality education for students who would suffer in public schools. Of parents in poor communities, he says, “their one chance at the American Dream was to get their kids motivated.”

So what’s in store for the future? “We should be focusing on what’s working and scale it up” says Barr.

“I’m worried that we’re going to continue down this path that sees the marketplace as a solution for public education,” says Pechthalt, who believes that public schools should have the resources they need to succeed.

Making L.A. is an ongoing series on Press Play. More, here.